Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Return to the blogosphere

After a prolonged silence due to class and work, I have returned to briefly discuss the current goings-on of The Clash of Kings. The three kings are making ground toward Kings Landing. However, they're not exactly aiming to find the Lannisters. Instead, Stannis has marched his troops on his brother Renly to make him acquiesce. At that moment Catelyn Stark was acting as envoy for her son at King Renly's camp. In her attempt to persuade both brothers to unite with her son against their common enemies- the lannisters, she was caught in an ugly battle between the two brothers. She also hears from Stannis about Queen Cersei's infidelity- and begins to put the pieces together about her husbands murder.
Tyrion continues his backdoor dealings to reunite Kings Landing and the surrounding commoners. He is secretly ridding the Red Keep of its poor management and trying to ensure a timely win for the Lannisters. Of all the Lannisters, he is the most likeable- he is cunning, smart, and not vile in his punishments of others. We even get a sense of his compasion (as well as the Hounds) when he catches Joffrey punishing Sansa and demands an immediate end to the events. Meanwhile the Lannisters stay safely tucked in at Kings Landing and the other three kings, Renly, Robb, and Stannis, gut themselves of their remaining troops by waging war against one another.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Finding the time to read.

I often get asked how I find the time to read between school, work, and life. A lot of my friends have expressed to me their love of reading but inability to find the time to actually read a full book, cover-to-cover. So here are a few tips that I find help me fit in reading during a hectic day.
First: Keep your book with you. We are always a few minutes early to class or work, or we may have a lunch break. These times are great for squeezing in a few extra pages.
Second: Spare ten to fifteen minutes before you go to bed to read a few pages. Not only will you keep a steady pace in your novel but you will also find it easier to sleep after your mind has relaxed.
Third: Cut down the Facebook time! I know many people that spend their extra time on FB, and while this is a decent way to spend your free-time you may find that you can utilize this time to get some of your other work done. This will free-up your day and allow some extra reading to be pushed in.
Lastly: Put the electronics away! I've realized that if I am holding onto my phone or watching TV I spend much less time reading.
But keep in mind that reading should be fun and not a chore, so if it fits into your day then great, but if not there will always be extra time on the weekends to catch up!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Book Two:

I am about a third of the way through with the second book. And I have also gotten to the end of the HBO series of A Game of Thrones. I am pleased to report that the series on HBO was very similar to the book, and followed it quite nicely. The characters, specifically the Stark children, are presented as being slightly older in the TV series than they are in the book. However, the difference is minimal.
Some new characters have been introduced in the second book as the race for the rule of the seven kingdoms plays out. Stannis Baratheon, brother to the late King Robert Baratheon, believes he is the true heir to the throne and has been driven to extreme lengths to garner power. He has no denounced the old gods and has taken up his wife's religion, where Melisandre is the primary god. Melisandre has promised him strength and power against King Joffrey in return for his allegiance. A power-hungry Stannis agrees.
Also, Arya, under the guise of an orphan boy, is being led to Winterfell by Yoren. However, the Queens guard has intercepted them on their route and pronounced their need for another young boy whom Yoren has taken in his watch. Arya cannot comprehend why the Queen should be looking for a commoner boy when she herself is also missing. Martin leaves trace details about the boy, other than the fact that he was a steel-makers apprentice. From past knowledge, the reader can deduce that this boy was one of the many children of the late King Baratheon. And Queen Cersei will do anything to be rid of all of his illegitimate children, despite the minimal threat they pose to the throne.
Lastly, Tyrion has taken up the post as the King's hand. He is secretly trying to right the many follies that his nephew King Joffrey has commited. Tyrion realizes that Joffreys consultants and those that guide him in all of his major decision-making are leading him astray in order to settle their own scores. Tyrion is proving to be a Lannister that many can count on.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Finally finished

I have been absent for a few days, and meanwhile have finished the first installment of the A Song of Ice and Fire series. I am happy to report that the ending was nothing short of amazing. So many aspects of the plot and the well being of many characters is left unanswered. I have started A Clash of Kings and am pleased that little time has passed between the two novels. It is the perfect continuation. The prologue gives the reader great insight into the troubles that loom over the realm. There are now three kings within the seven kingdoms and each king is ready to demonstrate their authority. Robb is now the winter king and is brimming with anger and frustration with King Joffrey; he is ready to seek his vengeance. However, his mother Lady Catelyn is conflicted between managing her son and his emotions while allowing him to make decisions for himself as crowned king. To make matters worse, a comet is staining the sky a deep blood red; an omen that does not bode well for the seven kingdoms.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Rising Action

Hello all,
There are so many things happening within the last hundred or so pages of the Game of Thrones that I could scarcely comment on them all in this post. First and foremost King Robert is no more, he perished at the hands, well tusk, of a wild boar. In his final moments he named Lord Eddard Protector of the Realm and earnestly demanded Eddard to protect his son. Little did he know that Joffrey was not his true son, and that in fact Joffrey is the son of Queen Cersei and Jaime Lannister the Kingslayer. Ned vowed to protect the Realm and secretly protect King Robert's true born children, whom Robert had not been in any sort of contact with. The day after Robert's perilous death, Joffrey seized the thrown with Queen Cersei in tow. Queen Cersei kidnapped Sansa, and attempted to wrangle Arya as well. Ned is taken prisoner. Winterfell and the River Lords are calling their bannerman and arming themselves preparing of a war. The looming winter gives me a cause for alarm; I wonder what will happen to Robb and the Stark's once the Lannister's and the army they are wielding reach them. The tension is reaching a boiling a point between Queen Cersei and her late husbands guards. Time will only tell what will come of the various captured lords and their families.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Game of Thrones part 2

Bran is awake! Although, he does not recall what had happened the day of his fall. His brother Robb has taken control of Winterfell, and risen to the occasion. Catelyn is in the North, contacting her husband Ned and others whom she can trust in order to discover the truth behind her sons fall, and unveil the mystery of Jon Arynn's death. Tension is boiling as Ned combs the last of Jon Arynn's servants and squires to discover their knowledge on Jon and his all too convenient death. Furthermore, Arya and Sansa are at constant blows, spewing all sorts of angst and disgust while their father unsuccessfully attempts to referee their fights. And the ever present whisper of "winter is coming" resounds faithfully in every Stark's ears. The looming winter is the final ingredient to a disaster-stew that is nearing its boiling point. It is clear that the mystery of Jon Arynn's death and Bran's fall are slowly being revealed, and the Lannister's thickly weaved web of lies and concealment will soon become lucid.
I am very happy with this book, this series has kept me on my feet since the start. I am very keen on learning more about the Lannister's and their motives as well as what will happen to Winterfell and the North when winter finally comes.Happy Reading...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Quote Wednesdays!

A Game of Thrones: pg125
"He never saw the wolf, where it was or how it came at him. One moment he was walking toward Snow and the next he was flat on his back on the hard rocky ground, the book spinning away from him as he fell, the breath going out of him at the sudden impact, his mouth full of dirt and blood and rotting leaves."
~Excellent part of the story when Jon Snow's direwolf attacks Tyrion in Snow's defense!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Game of Thrones: The beginning

I am about 100 pages into the first book in the series, A Game of Thrones. So far it's proving to be a very good read. As far as I can tell this series is about a group of medieval families, lords, kinds, and royal families alike, all vying for the rule of the land. This series is definite a step up from any other science fiction/fantasy novels that I have read. Although it's length is daunting (over 800 pages) thus far it appears to be a promising read. Something of note within this novel is that each chapter is given in another characters perspective, so you learn the plot and story through various perspectives; allowing the reader to be involved in the action, rather than just reading what one character is telling you. This also creates for some very interesting dramatic irony- you may be hearing or seeing one thing from one character that directly relates to another character who is thus far ignorant. My only warning when choosing to read this series is that there are many names and families, that frankly sound rather similar, and the dialect is fairly hard to get used to. However, after the first few chapters I found it was much easier to keep the different families and their respective lands straight. Read this book! Let me know what you think! Happy reading....

Monday, August 22, 2011

Lev Grossman novels cont...

Today I am going to finish my discussion on The Magician and The Magician King. Another aspect of this duo that I particularly enjoyed was the fact that these novels were not too fantastical. Although I enjoy fantasy novels of all kinds, I know that many readers do not necessarily like too read things that are too far-fetched or unbelievable. Although both of these books involve magic and fantasy it is clear that anyone can enjoy them and learn something from them. Most noteably, in my belief, these novels are somewhat of a commentary on people, and their incessant need to find something bigger and better. Quentin, the main character, is never satisfied with his life. He is always sitting on the sidelines waiting expectantly for his "calling". Periodically, when an adventure is brewing or a task is at hand Quentin becomes overjoyed. He breathes a sigh of relief because he feels that he is finally on the cusp of something amazing. Yet, time and time again he is dissapointed. This is a reoccuring problem with people today, everyone is always waiting for the next best thing, the thing that will define them, and the moment when their life will begin. Sadly, just like Quentin, many don't realize that it already has.
On a final note, I strongly suggest these novels to anyone, no matter what genre they prefer. Happy reading...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Living is like tearing through a museum. Not until later do you really start absorbing what you saw, thinking about it, looking it up in a book, and remembering - because you can't take it in all at once. ~Audrey Hepburn

My very first blog

Hey all,
This is my absolute first time ever attempting to begin a blog. I am definitely a bit of a neophite, so bare with me. I am dedicating this blog to the books I read and my comments on them. I'd like to try to discuss full heartedly the various books I am currently reading, or have read and get as many comments I can based upon my opinions and the opinions of others. Reading is much more than my hobby, it's a lifestyle. I am so passionate about the written word, and those lucky enough to posses the talent to write them. I could gush about my love for books for endless paragraphs, but instead of doing so I'd like to begin my first blog with a book that I just finished last night.
The Magician King, author Lev Grossman
The Magician King is the second installment in this series by Grossman. The first book, which I finished a few weeks ago is The Magician. This series is a must have! It chronicles the life of, Quentin Coldwater, throughout his basically meaningless existence, until some very meaningful and bizarre things begin happening to him. Quentin is absurdly genuis and chronically depressed. He's almost too smart for his own good, he is bored with his own highschool life and utterly obsessed with a fantasy book series called Fillory. Withough giving too much away, Quentin is "invited" to take a test at a magical school, Brakebills. He passes and is tossed into a magical world that he had no idea existed. The Magician and The Magician King follow Quentin as he deals with loss and love and dealing with the very real problems that living in a magical fantasyland create.
I found that Quentin is an extremely likeable character he is relatable, realistic, and sarcastic, with a biting sense of humor that never quits. Many compare this series to Harry Potter, and I would not necessarily disagree with this assessment.  I harbor a not-so-secret obsession with Harry Potter and after having read the two Grossman books I have spotted some very real and distinguishable differences between the two series. However, the differences in these books make them evermore lovable. For example, in Harry Potter, (as all of you know) the main character, Harry, is faced with countless life and death situations, and although he is afraid, he always manages to pull through. Harry Potter is the main character and essentially the hero, and the reader comes to expect this. It's comforting in a way, always knowing that somehow someway the Chosen One will inevitably come to the rescue. I loved this about the series.
However, in the Magician series the opposite is true. I found myself waiting throughout the novels for Quentin to become some sort of magical prodigy, for him to be special in someway other than the obvious exclusivity of being a magician. This never happened. He isn't a magical genuis, although he is a genuis based on our standards, he is just a regular guy. He was scared and cowardly and pathetic throughout many dangerous situations in the first book, yet he was believable. It was a nice change to read about a character who was actually fallible, if not, human! Quentin is a character that I think many people will find endearing and relatable, if not inspite of, because of his many faults.
I strongly urge every reader to check out The Magician and The Magician King by Lev Grossman, I will be back tomorrow to discuss, in more depth, the goings-on and plot of these two books, and why I found them so enjoyable. Until then, Happy Reading....